Part of the Swedish Empire

History of Latvia between 1621 - 1721

During the Polish–Swedish War (1600–1629) Riga and the largest part of Duchy of Livonia came under Swedish rule in 1621. During the Swedish rule Vidzeme was known as the "Swedish Bread Basket" because it supplied the larger part of the Swedish Kingdom with wheat. The rest of Latvia stayed Polish until the second partition of Poland in 1793, when it became Russian.

In 1632 the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus founded Dorpat University which became the intellectual focus for population of Livonia. The translation of the whole Bible into Latvian in 1685 by Johann Ernst Glück was subsidized by the Swedish government. Also the schools for Latvian speaking peasantry were set up in the country parishes.

Riga was the second largest city in the Swedish Empire at the time. Together with other Baltic Sea dominions, Livonia served to secure the Swedish Dominium maris baltici. In contrast to Swedish Estonia, which had submitted to Swedish rule voluntarily in 1561 and where traditional local laws remained largely untouched, the uniformity policy was applied in Swedish Livonia under Karl XI of Sweden: serfdom was abolished in the estates owned by the Swedish crown, peasants were offered education and military, administrative or ecclesiastical careers, and nobles had to transfer domains to the king in the Great Reduction. These reforms were subsequently reversed by Peter I of Russia when he conquered Livonia.

Inflanty Voivodeship

After the Polish–Swedish War (1600–1629) only the Southeastern part of the Duchy of Livonia ramained under Polish-Lithuanian rule. The Catholicism became the dominant religion in this territory known as Inflanty or Latgale as a result of Counter-Reformation.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 1621 and 1721 in Latvia

Mentzendorff House

Mentzendorff House, a subunit of the Museum of History and Navigation, with its 17-18th century atmosphere is the only museum of its kind in the Baltics. The exposition is set up in a building of 1695, which up to 1939 was a dwelling-house with a shop and warehouses. A dwelling-house museum renders the everyday life of wealthy Riga residents in the past. The unique ceiling and wall paintings of the 17th-18th centuries ha ...
Founded: 1695 | Location: Riga, Latvia

Skaistkalne Church

The Roman Catholic Skaistkalne Church (dedicated to Our Lady) was completed in 1692 and 1698. It is one one largest rural churches in Latvia and an early Baroque style masterpiece. It was one of the first Baroque style churches in Latvia. The icon of Our Miraculous Lady – the Protectress of Latvian Families – is found in the side altar of Skaistkalne shrine, people, especially newlyweds and families have pra ...
Founded: 1692 | Location: Skaistkalne, Latvia

St. Anne's Church

The Lutheran church of St. Anne (Anna) is the oldest building in Jelgava. The foundation act was approved in 1567 and the stone church was built during 1638-1641. An oak tree was planted next to the church in 1883, celebrating the 400th birthday of Martin Luther.
Founded: 1638-1641 | Location: Jelgava, Latvia

Burtnieki Lutheran Church

The Lutheran church of Burtnieki is located on the Eastern bank of the lake. The first church was built there in 1234. It was a Catholic church, built from wood. It burned down and was replaced by a stone wall church between 1283-1287. It was destroyed in 1654, during the Polish-Russian War. The current church was built in 1688. Near the church is located a minister estate building complex, renovated in 1992. The estate ...
Founded: 1688 | Location: Burtnieki, Latvia

Daugavgriva Castle Ruins

Daugavgrīva Castle was originally a monastery converted as a fortress by Swedish in the 17th century. Today there are no remnants of the medieval castle above the soil. In 1208 there was a Dünaburg castle built by the Teutonic Knights which initially served as a monastery. The Swedish fortress of Dünamünde, designed in a Dutch style by General Rothenburg in 1641, replaced the ruined Daugavgrīva C ...
Founded: 1680 | Location: Riga, Latvia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wroclaw Town Hall

The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.

The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.

Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.

The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.

Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.

The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.

During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.

In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.